23RD March 2019
UK AND MEDICINICAL CANNABIS
The Pharmaceutical Journal in the UK has published several articles concerned with cannabis –
Why patients are still being denied legalised medical cannabis – on 20th March, saying that hospital trust bureaucracy and doctors’ ignorance are to blame for the lack of prescriptions for medical cannabis being issued on the NHS, despite its reclassification for medical use in November 2018.
Medical Cannabis Clinicians’ Society publishes guidance for prescribers – on 21st March, saying that new guidance has identified conditions for which it says there is strong or weak evidence of efficacy of medical cannabis treatment.
Pharma industry should fund trials for medical cannabis, chief medical officer tells MPs – on 21st March, the CMO saying that randomised controlled trials are the only way to get medical cannabis products licensed, and the process should start as soon as possible.
However, a further article – on non-medicinal cannabis – on 20th March:
Daily use of high-potency cannabis increases risk of psychosis by 4 times, study finds – saying that the odds of psychotic disorder among daily high-potency cannabis users was 4 times higher than for never users, study finds.
QUANTUM COMPUTERS POSE A SECURITY THREAT THAT WE’RE STILL TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR
On 17th March, says that the world relies on encryption to protect everything from credit card transactions to databases holding health records and other sensitive information. However, a new report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says we need to speed up preparations for the time when super-powerful quantum computers can crack conventional cryptographic defences.
The report is available (for a charge) at –
PROSECUTORS WANT ASSAD UNCLE TRIED OVER FRENCH PROPERTY EMPIRE
Al-Monitor on 21st March reported that French prosecutors have called for the uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand trial on charges of pilfering Syrian state coffers to amass a €90 million property portfolio in France, including a stud farm and a chateau. Rifaat al-Assad, dubbed the “Butcher of Hama” for allegedly commanding the troops behind the bloody suppression of an uprising in central Syria in 1982, has been under investigation in France since 2014.
$32.7 BILLION LOST IN TELECOM FRAUD ANNUALLY
On 22nd March, OCCRP reported on a recent report published by Europol claiming that telecommunications or telecom fraud is a fast-growing field of criminal activity and a low-risk alternative to traditional methods of financial crime, costing today’s world some $32.7 billion annually, according to the joint report published by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and Trend Micro, a Taiwanese cyber security and defence company. Telecoms fraud is the abuse of telecom products (primarily telephones and mobile phones) or services with the aim of illegally siphoning away money from either a telecom service provider or its customers. Perpetrators of such fraud attempt to gain access to SIM cards or other billing portals to enter the customer or carrier account, “where debt can be incurred in favour of the attacker,” the report details.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR AT SMALL UK AIRFIELDS AND AIRPORTS: PROJECT PEGASUS
On 22nd March, the Home Office issued an updated news release containing Home Office communications guidance on Project Pegasus, a joint law enforcement operation tackling threats to the general aviation industry in the UK. It explains how you can report suspicious and unusual behaviour at small UK airfields and airports.
US PROSECUTORS LAY 3 MORE CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-AUTONOMY CHIEF EXEC MIKE LYNCH
The Register on 23rd March reported that the charges accuse him of securities and wire fraud regarding Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of his company. Lynch, once dubbed Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, sold his company, a software company he founded, to the US tech company in 2011 for $11 billion. A year later, HP was forced to write down $8.8 billion, claiming that Lynch had “outright misrepresented” its value. It is also suing Lynch and Autonomy financial chief, Sushovan Hussain, in the UK, demanding $5 billion in damages. In the US, prosecutors are putting together a criminal case against Lynch and Autonomy accountant, Stephen Chamberlain, again over the acquisition.
KOSOVO PLANS TO BAN GAMBLING AFTER 2 MURDERS AT LOCAL GAMBLING VENUES
Calvin Ayre on 22nd March reported that an extraordinary session of Kosovo’s parliament approved a measure to suspend operations at all gambling venues ahead of a permanent ban on their operations.
INTERPOL REVIEWS ITS RULES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE OF CRIMINAL DATA
On 22nd March, a news release from Interpol says that it has launched a review of its Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) to ensure they continue to meet the needs of international police cooperation in a digital world. The RPD are the only existing legal instrument with a global scope regulating the international exchange of criminal data. The RPD enable 194 countries to share data via INTERPOL’s Information System in line with international standards, including the rights to privacy and data protection. The purpose of the review is said to be to ensure the RPD meet countries’ needs and keep pace with developments − such as big data technologies, open-source intelligence, the increasing inter-connectivity of systems, and the use of data for crime prevention purposes such as screening of travellers − while ensuring individuals’ rights and privacy are respected.
BRITISH COLUMBIA CIVIL FORFEITURE OFFICE SUING TARGET OF MASSIVE MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION
The Globe & Mail on 22nd March reported that the Civil Forfeiture Office is targeting more than $5 million in cash and property tied to a man at the heart of a massive money laundering investigation that began unravelling late last year. It is seeking $4.86 million in cash and various other items, as well as a $764,000 condo in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, that it says are owned by Paul King Jin, the man authorities alleged ran a large underground gambling ring that took advantage of the lax money laundering controls at Lower Mainland casinos.
SOUTH AFRICA: 9 SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS SUSPENDED OVER CORRUPTION CLAIMS
IOL on 22nd March reported that several officials of the Department of Small Business Development have been suspended with immediate effect after serious allegations of corruption within the unit responsible for incentive scheme administration.
IRELAND: CASE COULD BE TAKEN AGAINST IRELAND OVER SPECIAL TAX TREATMENT GIVEN TO VULTURE FUNDS
The Journal reported on 23rd March that the Master of the High Court has said a case on State aid rule breaches could be brought by the European Commission in relation to the special tax treatment given to the vulture funds in Ireland. In a presentation to politicians in the European Parliament this week, outlining that there are similarities to be drawn from the Apple case that ruled in 2016 that Ireland had given Apple illegal tax relief. The focus of his presentation was on the possible abuse in Ireland of Section 110 Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) legislation, whereby companies are setting up and registering as charities and that was generally structured in such a way so that it was effectively tax-neutral.
IMMUNO BIOTECH STAFF HANDED SUSPENDED PRISON SENTENCES OVER GcMAF AFFAIR
On 23rd March, Guernsey Press reported that 2 former employees of the company were handed suspended prison sentences, following former Immuno Biotech owner David Noakes being sentenced to 15 months in prison in the UK for money laundering and manufacturing, supplying and selling an unlicensed medicine – GcMAF. A former company office manager pleaded guilty to o money laundering, and the financial controller for the company was sentenced for acquiring or using proceeds of crime, as well as money laundering.
RUSSIAN LAWMAKERS GIVE GREEN LIGHT TO ALTERNATIVE SWIFT SYSTEM
On 22nd March, Banking Tech reported that Russia has backed the global use of its own alternative to financial messaging network SWIFT to avoid the risk of Western sanctions. It is said that Russia has held talks about joint use of Russia’s financial messaging system – an alternative to the Belgium-based Swift system – with China, India, Iran and Turkey.
THE BIGGEST BRIBE CASES IN RUSSIA
On 20th March, Rferl published an infographic, saying that Russian State Duma deputy Vadim Belousov has been detained on suspicion of accepting a $49 million bribe. The infographic shows how this compares to other cases that have been tried in the courts.
BULGARIAN JUSTICE MINISTER RESIGNS AMID REAL ESTATE SCANDAL
Rferl on 23rd March reported that Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva has resigned following media reports that she and 3 other ruling centre-right GERB party politicians have purchased luxury apartments at below market prices. Her resignation comes a day after the Anti-Corruption Commission launched a probe into the properties purchased last year from the same developer.